Kidney cancer in children is rarely reported, but if diagnosed late or neglected, it can be a life-threatening issue. Common symptoms of kidney cancer are abdominal lump, weight loss and blood in urine.
Occurrence of kidney cancer in children is rare. There are various types of kidney or renal cancer in children, but most of them are highly treatable and mostly curable. Late detection of kidney tumour can become a life-threatening issue for a suffering child. The following information will guide you to diagnose kidney cancer early.
Symptoms of Kidney Cancer in Children
- Lump in the child's abdomen.
- Blood in the urine (hematuria).
- Abdominal pain.
- Fever and chills.
- Decreased appetite.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- High blood pressure.
Types of Kidney Cancer in Children
- Wilms' tumour- Also called nephroblastoma, it is the most common form of kidney cancer in children. Wilm’s tumour is diagnosed in children between 2.5 years and 3 years. Girls are at slightly higher risk of wilm’s tumour than boys. In USA, out of 450 to 500 cancer cases, 5 to 6 percent are diagnosed with wilm’s tumour. This childhood cancer can be treated by surgery and is highly responsive to treatment.
- Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) - Other names for RCC are adenocarcinoma or hypernephroma. Renal cell carcinoma occurs due to the growth of cancerous cells in the renal tubules. This childhood cancer usually occurs in children above 10 years of age. It can spread to the lungs and other organs. About one-third cases of RCC are diagnosed when the tumour has already spread.
- Congenital mesoblastic nephroma- This cancer is the most common renal tumour, which occurs in early infancy. This tumour is usually diagnosed in the first three months of life. It is more common in boys than in girls. Mesoblastic nephroma can spread from one kidney to another kidney.
What causes Renal or Kidney Tumour in Children?
Genetic pattern of children, who have renal or kidney cancer, are analysed to find the reason behind the development of renal tumours in them. It has been found that certain chromosomal abnormalities increase the risk of Wilms' tumour.
Diagnostic tests for Kidney Tumour in Children
Once an abdominal lump is detected in a child, he/she needs to undergo radiologic studies. An ultrasound is done to determine the location of the mass in the kidney and whether it is a solid tumour or not. After ultrasound, either a CT scan or an MRI is carried out.
The basic treatment of all types of renal tumours in children is surgical removal. In most patients, surgery includes radical nephrectomy in which the tumour and the entire affected kidney are removed. Patients, who have tumours in both the kidneys, must go for a biopsy to determine the size and type of tumour. The patient then receives chemotherapy.
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